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CORE BUSINESS PROCESS SERIES - PROCESS #2: EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT AND SATISFACTION

 

This is the second part in my series on the 10-core business processes every business must have. In order to move from a lifestyle business to a legacy business, you need to be competent in all 10 core business processes. These are must-do things. You don't have to have them to make money, but if you're building a legacy business, these are the 10 that you really and truly need to focus on. They will position your business where you have the most in common with the 500 largest companies in the world. If you get these 10 processes right, it's going to be obvious to anybody with whom you speak that you're ready to do business, that you're ready to play, you're ready to get in and win the game.

Today I’m going to focus on process number two -- which is employee development and satisfaction.   You might be sitting there thinking, “What? Look, I just don't have the revenue coming in right now. You know, I just don't have a large enough team. I don't need all of that”. But in saying that, you're also saying “I'm not ready for anything other than a consulting gig”. It's difficult for a large company to trust that a one-person, two-person or three-person company can deliver upon all of their needs. If you're under 10 million in revenue, if you're under 20 million in revenue, then employee development and satisfaction is an area on which you should probably focus. Even if you're under a million in revenue and you are just building your team with about three, four, or five people, employee development and satisfaction is critical. If you are at the beginning point of building your team, it is easier to implement. It's easy to get it right when the team is small -- then when the team is large a good portion of this process really and truly speaks to how well you have thought out roles and responsibilities.

It is common in small businesses that you have one or two or three people that are cross trained on everything. And somehow or another, instinctively, there are these informal or unwritten rules amongst the three of you about what all needs to get done. You know that someone is there for you when they do things without you having to tell them. Now that feels great as a small business owner because your partner just stepped in and made it happen. You didn't have to tell them what to do. You didn't have to walk them through the details of whatnot. They just saw something that needed to be done and they just did it. That works well to an extent. But you throw in person number four, person number eight, person number 40, and you'll eventually get to the point where you bring somebody on and they're sitting around and somebody's like, “well, what, what, why are you sitting around? We've got so much work to do”. And the person answers, ”because nobody told me what to do”. The problem that is revealed in that scenario is simply this: large organizations revolve around having defined roles and responsibilities and tasks for every single resource they bring in.

If you're going to spend $75,000 or $100,000 a person for salary and benefits -- including the overhead costs, management systems, computer technology, additional electricity, and everything else that a person brings on a desk, an employee costs you  much more than just their pay. When you start considering all of that, then you want to make sure that you have enough work for that person to do -- you have a defined task that they are skilled and competent and capable of completing and that they're the best candidate for that position. If you don't have any definition around what it is they're supposed to do, how do you know that you have the right person for the job?

As you go through building out your team, understand what the development process is, because very few companies at this point hire somebody in and have them doing that exact same job for their entire time with their company. What you really want is to bring somebody in but know that that person can be promoted to increasing levels of responsibility - whether it's two years down the road or 10 years down the road. You want to see some growth potential. What you really want to see, not only for career development, is that the person has the ability to learn as your business needs change, so that you have some type of employee development.  There is a lot of literature written about employee satisfaction because employees that are not motivated, employees that are not on board with your vision, employees that have other ideas about the business other than what you're trying to do can destroy your business faster than most anything you can imagine.

You can now begin to see why employee development and employee satisfaction is number two in the 10 core business processes. The way you really go about doing this is -- as soon as possible when you're going from employee number one and number two, employee number two to number three, employee number 10 to number 11 -- think through precisely what it is you need that person to do. You want to have a defined role; then you want to have defined responsibilities. You can call it a job description. You can go out to any of the job sites -- Indeed.com; Glassdoor, etc. -- and you can get samples of job descriptions and you can start thinking through what it is you precisely need for someone to do. Then you can start hiring for that purpose. The big advantage that you have going on in this case is someone's not sitting around looking at what it is they need to do. You can say, “Hey, here's the job description. Here's what you are asked to do. And at the end of the period -- whether it's a workday, a work month, a work quarter, or an employee review period -- you can objectively say these were the items that you were assigned and did you actually complete them? It's really just that simple.

Then when times get really busy in your company, you now have given yourself the ability to have some type of baseline around what it is that people were responsible for doing. You can see what came into your business and whether you actually have everything that comes into your business properly identified and someone responsible for taking care of it. So now you've built in some accountability. Now you've built in an ability to measure whether you are functioning at an appropriate level regarding how a particular activity is handled - whether it's maximizing profitability on a customer; whether it's getting the productivity out of the warehouse or the production line; whether somebody's meeting deadlines based on commitments that have been made for projects that are rolling out the door. You have now built in a process by which you can have accountability and measurement to make sure that A) nothing falls through the cracks and B) you can determine whether you have the right metrics or key performance indicators to make sure it was done the way you want it done.

If you have these processes in place, what does it tell your customer about your business? It means you're ready to do business. This is one of the more important processes that you can get implemented and go from there. It's not that difficult. When you're a small business owner, you've got so many things going on that it's easy for this one to fall in between the cracks because you're more focused on “I just need to get the work done -- and he'd get the work done. I don't have time for all that other stuff”. This is not “all that other stuff”. This is one of those things that, with a little bit of effort on the front end, is going to make your life so much easier on the back end.

The next blog will cover core business process number three: Quality Process Improvement and Change Management. Go to www.blueprintpros.com and get on our email list to stay up to date on new episodes and other exciting news.

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